Manuscripts from the personal library of William Euing, 1788-1874, insurance broker, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

The Euing collection is divided into two parts:

  • A general collection of 12,000 volumes, including 130 incunabula and a collection of bibles, psalters, books of prayers and hymns amounting to 3,000 volumes, including 24 incunabula.
  • The Euing Music Library containing c2,500 volumes of early printed music, including 7 incunabula. The Euing Music Library contains c2,500 music volumes of early printed music, including 7 incunabula.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Euing was born in May 1788  . He was educated in Glasgow, Scotland, at the Grammar School before being sent to Glasgow College at the age of 13 where he attended the Humanity class. After 3 years at college William Euing bacame a clerk at the calendering firm of Inglis, Euing & Co. Following the retirement of Mr Inglis in 1906, Euing continued the firm until he sold it in 1815  due to ill health. Three years later he went into business as an insurance underwriter with his cousin, William Smith, later Lord Provost of Glasgow, being his first underwriter.

As an underwriter William Euing achieved great success. He was involved with the Association of Underwriters for 34 years, an association that was in its infancy when he joined and a flourishing institution by the time he resigned in 1859  .

As well as underwriting, Euing taught young men from home or in his office, and was heavily involved in charity work, giving away large sums of money and founding the Glasgow Sailors' Home. A patron of the arts, he had a love of music throughout his life and a life-long devotion to literature. His library was collected with the definite object of educating himself and of helping to educate others and was no haphazard collection of rare and expensive books.

Within his library he held a large collection of Glasgow printed books, especially Foulis' classics. Specimens of the printing of all ages and countries abounded in fine examples of Uries and Foulises of Glasgow, of Ruddemans of Edinburgh, Rabans of Aberdeen, of early English printing, and the fine classics of Aldus of Venice, Jannon of Sedan, the Elzevirs of Leyden, Barbour of Paris, and the Badoni press of Parma. A valuable yet small collection of ballad literature was collected along with a large number of bibles; the English bible being a specialist area of interest to Euing. All of these were left to the University of Glasgow upon his death.

Euing's music library was of particular interest and value, consisting of treatises, histories and essays on music and singing; printed music such as operas, cantatas, glees, madrigals, oratorios, masses, and psalms. The collection was bequeathed to Anderson's University, Glasgow, along with a sum of money to build a fireproof strong room for their storage and money to endow a Chair in Music. The collection was transferred to the University of Glasgow in 1932.

Music was a passion of Euing and he formed a glee and madrigal club in Glasgow that met at six o'clock in the morning, leading to their nickname of'The Glasgow Larks".

Well, travelled, Euing had visited every country in Europe except for Turkey and when he died in 1874  at the age of 86, the minutes of the Association of Underwriters record the esteem in which he was help by his peers.

Source: , vol I'William Euing',Memoirs & Portraits of One Hundred Glasgow Men, (Glasgow: James Maclehose & Son, 1886)


The collection is arranged into two series as described in the scope and content

Access Information

private records deposited by the owners


Acquisition Information

Gift : William Euing : December 1873 : ACCN 0734, 2423

Euing Music Library transferred from the Royal Technical College : December 1936 : ACCN 0961

Other Finding Aids

Item level descriptions are available via the department's online manuscripts catalogue available at

For details of printed books see Glasgow University Library Catalogue .

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Archivist's Note

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 6 March 2002

No alterations made to date

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Head of Special Collections

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 247 procedures

Custodial History

The Euing Music Library was originally bequeathed to Anderson's College, later the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde. The majority of the material was received directly by bequest from William Euing.


None expected

Related Material

No related material

Geographical Names